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Ask Me, Don't Tell Me

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Ask Me, Don't Tell Me

Published 1961

San Francisco teenage gangs and the unfriendly world they inhabit.

Run time 20:55
Producer Myers (David)
Sponsor American Friends Service Committee
Audio/Visual Sd, B&W


Explores the problems of juvenile delinquency, showing what happened in San Francisco with restless, unemployed teenagers and showing their world of disappointment, hostility and gang fights.

TEENAGERS YOUTH JUVENILE DELINQUENTS HOSTILITY GANGS FIGHTS UNEMPLOYMENT SAN FRANCISCO Blacks African Americans Chicanos Mexican Americans Chinese Americans Fillmore Street Mission Street Construction Bridges Native Americans Remodeling Carpentry Dancing (teenagers) Couples


Reviewer: regal33 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 13, 2015
Subject: A Warlord Speaks
I was one of these young men, We were a very interracial group of a wide spread heritage, comprised of Latino's, Pacific Islanders, Blacks, Anglo's, Asians and some Native Americans. If you were a racist, you were not welcome among us, Our President was a Samoan named Johnny Bird who fought under the name The Hurricane Kid, He became third ranked middle weight in the world. This film shows him being interviewed by Carl May a Quaker who started Youth for Service in SF. He was a ex-boxer and jazz drummer, his wife a Beatnik artist. Our turf was Nob Hill, the Tenderloin, Market Street, South of Market up too around 16th & Mission. We were not bullies but could hold our own against teenagers, young men and punks who thought they were tough, Some of us became successful business men, some died in prison and Vietnam. We belonged to an era where pride and honor was part of our moral fiber,
Reviewer: rlneva1941 - favorite - March 4, 2012
Subject: A tale of co-optation
The Man tells you to clean it up for him and his buddies but you get nothin but work, fuck all that boogie shit. You don't have a share until your name is on the title and never forget it honkie!
Reviewer: kboyxxx - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 14, 2009
Subject: Nice to see
I think I saw a shot of Clayton street where I lived in 72.
Saw some Misson shots as well.
Cool movie.
I dig it to the max daddy-o.
Reviewer: Robin_1990 - - April 14, 2008
Subject: Huh?
Why is it that when a film shows something bad about the past, People mention it all the time, But when a film shows something good about the past, People never mention it?
Reviewer: zerp - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 20, 2005
Subject: Ask Me, Don't Tell Me
This is a very cool little movie, and YES, the soundtrack is very good. Bay Area residents will recognize the Castro theater, some liquor stores, and even the town of Alviso, which is now incorporated as part of San Jose. There's a mix of black kids, Mexican kids, Asian kids, and even some American Indian kids. There's some great stock shots of cruising, smoking, drinking, eating, dancing, construction work, bridge-building, and even some activism as the kids get involved with petitioning Washington DC for some social change. There's some cool newspaper headlines from 1958 on this particular youth project.

While the movie itself may be public domain, one has to be careful with the music rights, as you can hear Ray Charles "What'd I Say" on the jukebox as kids dance up a storm, and some cool covers of "Johnny B Good," and "La Bamba." There's also some great surf and doo-wop songs in the background.

The film ends with a nice celebration as the kids go swimming in a creekside swimming hole, as the song "La Bamba" plays in the background.
Reviewer: dan b - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 22, 2003
Subject: Ask Me, Don't Tell Me
This is a very cool movie, indeed. There are some incredible scenes of street-corner gangs with names like "The Lonely Ones," "The Esquires," "Los Lobos," "Aces" and so on. The clothes and pompadours are a joy to watch. The story is about some guy who convinced some early 60's gang members to put aside their differences and work together for free doing jobs like painting houses for people who could not do it themselves. The program was called Youth For Service, and it benefitted the gang youth by giving them a sense of necessity, while helping those in need. Cool. The visuals are the best part of this film. If you love post WW2 greaserdom, you won't find any better than this one.
Reviewer: Christine Hennig - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 14, 2003
Subject: Ask Me, Don't Tell Me
This film documents the Youth for Service project in San Francisco during the 50s; a project that recruited youth gangs to do various community service projects, usually involving construction, maintenance, or environmental work. The project itself looks quite successful in channeling the gangs into constructive activity; one wonders if it is still going on today and if not, why not. But beyond that, this film is a wonderful document of 50s gang life and teen culture. Gang members narrate certain parts of the film themselves, using almost unintelligible gang lingo. We get to see inner city youth in their own environment, hanging out at various places and amusing themselves in various ways, both acceptable and not acceptable. A whole host of gang jackets and insignia are shown and the film even has a cool homegrown rock-and-roll soundtrack. The adult narrators speak about the youth in surprisingly respectful terms, yet they are not overly idealistic about their project. Their attitude is refereshingly free from either fear or pity. Overall, this is one of the most realistic and best juvenile delinquent films I've ever seen.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: *****.
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 1, 2003
Subject: I'm hip to that!
Amazing overview of the Youth For Service program ran in San Fransisco where youth gangs... er I should say "clubs" as they are referred to in the film leave their misunderstandings and pasts at the door and help in community projects. Utterly fasicnating beginning of a gang member speaking in (I think) jive, and I could only catch maybe a third of what he was saying. Is this program still in existance? I would doubt it, as the 'clubs' here are much more agressive and hostile today then in 1961.
Highly reccomended not just for the film itself, but for the amazing score as well.
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